The search for a girls basketball coach at Nashville High School proved to be a quick one with the announcement that longtime assistant Doug Althoff has been hired to lead the Hornettes’ program beginning in the 2015-16 season.
An assistant coach with the Hornettes for the past 16 years, Althoff, 53, takes over the coaching duties from Wayne Harre, who stepped down this spring after leading Nashvillle to a 22-9 record and Class 2A regional title.
A major factor in helping to build Nashville into one of the top programs in the state while working with Harre for the past 15 years, Althoff said Wednesday that he doesn’t plan to change much in terms of style of play or coaching philosophy.
“What’s the old saying? If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. We’ve been very successful at Nashville. I see no reason to change anything,’’ Althoff said. “Now I might tweak a few things. Offensively, I think some of it depends on the personnel you have to work with. What the kids can and can’t do. It might look different, but the whole objective is to put kids in situations where they are comfortable and have a chance to succeed.
Success on the basketball court is something Nashville has done as well as any team in the metro-east for the past 15 years. Harre guided Nashville to the 2013 Class 2A state championship and also helped the Hornettes to a pair of third-place finishes (2009 and 2010) and fourth-place finishes (2002 and 2011). He also won 15 regional titles.
“There is some pressure associated with taking over as head coach from Wayne (Harre), but it’s a comfortable situation for me because I’ve been involved in the program the whole time. I’ve been around Wayne (Harre) for a long time. Hopefully, some of it rubbed off on me,’’ Althoff said. “It had always been in the back of my mind about being a head coach. But we’ve been very fortunate at Nashville and I really didn’t want to go anywhere else. I’ve been very happy where I was at.
“But when the opportunity came up, I thought about it a little bit, then I had some people come and talk to me about it. I thought about it a little more, talked it over with my wife Krystal and my family to see if they were behind me and when they said they were, I decided to give it a shot.’’
Althoff will have three returning starters back from a team which won the River-to-River Conference title, a regional crown and 22 games before losing to eventual Class 2A State Tournament runner-up Central in a sectional final. But the two players who graduated — all-state guard Jordi Harre and Emily Thompson — accounted for more than 30 points per game
“It’s a lot to lose. We lost Jordi, who averaged 20 points, and Emily Thopmson who gave us 10 more. Then when you figure another 10 coming off of assists from Jordi, that’s 40 points we need to try and replace somewhere,’’ Althoff said. “We’ve got some talent coming back and I’m sure the kids will continue to work hard. Hopefully we’ll find some ways to put the ball in the basket.
“Overall, the future looks bright. We had a camp last week and there is a some talent in the seventh- and eighth-grade classes, I like what I see.”
Althoff was recently joined in the coaching ranks by his daughter — former Okawville and Southwestern Illinois College standout Haylee Althoff, who was named girls basketball coach at Red Bud High School.
“It’s funny how things work out. Haylee has been around the game of basketball her whole life. She’ll do a good job and I’m pretty proud of her,’’ Althoff said “It’s also nice because we’ll be able to help each other out in terms of scouting other teams.’’
Althoff also added that long-time assistants Dempsey Witte and Bethany Hinkle will remain on hiscoaching staff.
As for his coaching style, the players at Nashville should know what to expect.
“I’m a disciplinarian. The good thing is that I’ve been around these kids and they know what I expect from them,’’ Althoff said. “I’m a lot like Wayne in what I expect from the kids. The difference is that I’m little more warm and fuzzy than he is.’’
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2661.